LeFort also grows hydroponic lettuce for Mirabel-based Hydroserre Mirabel, sold locally and exported to New York and Boston.
In winter, the greenhouses are heated with biomass to save on fuel costs.
Students help Quebec apple producers redesign package
Longueuil-based Quebec Federation of Apple Producers sponsored a student design competition in the spring as part of a plan to modernize its packaging.
The competition marked the end of a year-long study by a local research firm, which spoke to packers, distributors and produce managers to determine what they wanted in a package.
Those specifications were given to design students from the University of Quebec, Montreal. Three winning designs were announced and prizes awarded at a cocktail reception at the end of March.
“We asked the students to rethink the traditional plastic bag and present a deluxe package that could be used for extra fancy apples,” said federation president Stephanie Levasseur.
The designs, most with handles, will now be presented to chain stores and distributors.
“It would be fun if one or two got used for next year,” she said.
Quebec Produce Growers open farmers market
On June 14, Montreal-based Quebec Produce Growers Association opened a new permanent farmers market in Longueuil, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River directly across from Montreal.
General manager Andre Plante said the association invested $8 million in the project, designed by a prominent architect, and the city supplied the land and building, with its 700,000 square feet of space and 20,000 square feet of greenhouse space for spring flowers. Plante said the stalls can be open-air or enclosed depending on the weather.
The association opened its first public market in 1968 on Montreal’s south shore.
Ex-retail exec starts consultant business
After some 30 years in the food industry, much of it with major supermarket chains, Robert Beauregard is using his extensive expertise to help others build their business.
In January the former QPMA president launched his own company, Gestion Flexco, offering expert advice on fruits and vegetables.
“I can help customers get better products, variety and packaging,” Beauregard said, “or help solve problems with operations, logistics or transportation, whatever they need.”
Clients include Montreal fruit importer Agri-Mondo Inc., where he worked as marketing manager for the last few years, and new potato company Quebec Parmentier, he said.